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Jul. 29th, 2010


The Death of Ungoliant

The ants must have been busy last night, as all the other insects introduced yesterday were DEAD when I awoke. Ungoliant had been especially desecrated, as her legs lay all over the mine -- bitten off by the ants.

Apparently these ants aren't quite as dull as I accused them of being.

I'm tempted to catch and keep another spider in a separate container, just to see how large I can get it.

Jul. 28th, 2010



Naturally, I've not yet bothered to take the promised pictures of the current residents of the Mine. The new ants are drearily dull, and are ever huddled in the bottom right corner of the Mine, lain across their precious and, I suspect, dead eggs. I'm hoping that, come warmer weather, they'll become more active. I'm also hoping they'll eat their own eggs, just because.

Today I decided to make the Mine a little more interesting. This involved catching a big black spider (they live all over the current residence, and can grow quite large) and inserting it into the Mine. Figuring that the spider, now terrified, needed some prey to make it more active, I then captured:

1 Woodlouse
1 Witchetty grub
1 non-descript black grub that I originally thought was dead
1 Bush cockroach
and 1 Earwig with large pincers

The woodlouse and the cockroach just huddled into corners, where they were left unbothered by the ants, who had come out to investigate their new playmates. The witchetty grub and non-descript grub started exploring the mine, to their demise. The ants nipped them constantly, and the witchetty grub was soon subdued and dead. The black grub, however, tempted fate and lingers around the spider, whose name is Ungoliant - a precarious position, with ants on one side and a spider on the other. I don't expect the grub to survive much longer.

The earwig was quite amusing to watch. I noticed it chewing on something, and, upon closer inspection, found it to be the old bodies of the ants that killed the Boof-head ants. It has not been harassed by any other occupant.

My dream is that Ungoliant will spin her wicked web in one chamber of the Mine, while the ants will raise their young with stories of terror about the shadowy shape that lingers yonder. However, it's more likely that they'll all die of starvation.

Whereat I'll find a new cast for this endless deathly drama.

Jun. 24th, 2010



So short a time has passed since my last update, yet the Mine has just had a massive overhaul. All the little ants that loved their sugar have been done away with -- disposed of when the mine was purged in record time -- and now a new breed of ant bemusedly occupies the fabled chambers of the Ant Mine.

My reasons for this abrupt development are obvious: eggs. Or, more correctly, LARVAE!

On a whim, while I was playing in the garden (it has been a lovely winter day), I upturned a cement slab and was greeted by piles of squirming baby ants. Hence, I refitted the Mine with these grubs and a host of their carers. Alas, no queen -- but I hope one of the grubs may grow to be a fat, egg-hurling ant to adorn the artificial caverns I write about.

I shall post pictures of the new residents later, as I've a chamber orchestra to go to and have spent far too much time staring at ants already.


What's Mine isn't Yours.

I haven't posted for a while because there has been little to post about. Most of the smaller ants seem to have pissed off, because my sugar apparently wasn't good enough for them. I've not bothered to make progress on identifying their origins, and am simply watering the ants that have decided to remain in the mine until winter passes.

It is long overdue that I visually introduced the current residents of the Mine. Here they are, on their mounds of plundered sugar:



They're tiny when compared to my previous ants. And they love that sugar. They spend most of the day dry-humping the stuff.

May. 25th, 2010


Trojan Eggs?

I'm starting to wonder if the ants that overthrew the reigning boof heads didn't hatch from the eggs I raided from those miscellaneous ants some while ago. A few signs indicate this, but I've yet to confirm it. For instance, the eggs in the mine seem rather saggy and sad, but it's difficult to get to one to see for certain whether they're just aged or they actually hatched. Furthermore, there were and have been no trails to the mine from an external source to suggest a nest from which the present ants came.

I intend to find the ants from which I stole the egg and compare them to the present invaders, as this may help ascertain their origins. However, as the weather is currently dismal, I shall leave it until later.

May. 16th, 2010


Invasion of the Ants

I woke up only a few moments ago to find the Mine had been conquered!

As I stumbled through the kitchen, the bleary ache of sleep oppressing me greatly, I glanced out the window and noticed that the ants weren't in a big mass around their well, as is the norm. Figuring they must be hiding in another section of the mine, and curious as to why that may be, I went out to take a closer look.

Instead of boof head ants boofing about, there were boof head ant corpses and little ants swarming through the mine, stealing the sugar!

This is by far the greatest development in the mine (and probably a small mercy to the boof heads). My colleague and I had planned to eventually introduce another ant into the mine for the purpose of ant-wars, but to have it occur naturally was completely unexpected.

I'm going to let these small ants have their run of the mine, and see if they take it over (though they can obviously enter and leave at their will, due to their size).

To the memory of the boof head ants.

Apr. 21st, 2010


"I can't feel my feeler!"

The Mine is still alive and accumulating a vast amount of debris despite my initial attempts at ensuring cleanliness. The jumping spider was around again today, and little has occurred that's worth mentioning, except...

Well, there's this one ant with a problem. The boof head ants are predisposed to occasionally dragging one another around by the limbs, sometimes even picking up and carrying each other about. One ant, who I assume was being dragged about by the antennae, has ended up quite hindered by this trait.

One may predict that the ant had its antennae ripped right off. This is not the case. It still has its antennae.

It also has the ant that was dragging it around by its antennae still attached to said antennae, as that particular ant decided that, mandibles clenched upon another ant, it would expire.

So now there's this ant with a corpse stuck to its feeler, sadly trying to dislodge its cadaverous passenger by sadly wiping its antennae and damned to carry it around until she meets a similar fate.

It's almost enough to make me open the Mine up and free her.

Mar. 30th, 2010


Do I wake or sleep?

The Mine is continuing to function to all norms and mediocrities of the boof head ants, and the jumping spider is still around.

Last night I dreamt that I was at my parents' house, in the yard... and there were boof head ants emerging from their nests with eggs and larvae! I was catching as many as possible (with the young in their mandibles). This is my current aspiration for the Mine, and thusly played out in a dream. However, my parents live in an area with a different climate to that the boof heads prefer, therefore such a dream shall not breach into reality (especially not the bizarre lightning storm that occurred after said dream).


Mar. 26th, 2010


Hurrah! Hurrah!


Contrary to my personality, I've managed to maintain this incarnation of the Mine for more than a few days.

The ants took longer than previous occupants to settle into the mine, and they're still attacking the air holes - something the earlier ants only did for about two days.

They've moved the eggs I plundered into various locations; at first they put them near their water hole, but they kept falling in (the eggs - the ants jump in by themselves). Speaking of which, they've only pulled a small amount of cotton wool out of their well, which they've taken down to the lower sections of the mine for mysterious reasons known only to those who communicate with pheromones.

There have been a few casualties - around 10 when I last counted - that I replaced yesterday when I slammed a shovel into one of the many nests about the place.

Oh, and the jumping spider was back. I'd start a jumping spider colony, but I'm sure it would result in a mob of locals chasing me out of town.

Mar. 12th, 2010


Genesis 1.3

So, after a few weeks of letting the Mine serve as a morgue, I decided to clean it out entirely and start anew. This is a banal affair and I'll spare my one reader (who is also the author of this journal) the details, save this: when I was pulling the dried cotton wool out of the drinking container, there were a number of ants that had burrowed into said cotton wool and become stuck. One of these ants, however, decided that death was undecidedly manly and proceeded to get up and run around...

After weeks of being stuck in a compacted wad of cotton wool, surrounded by the corpses of her sisters, this ant just got up and ran off. I really wanted to catch it, to have a veteran of the Mine in there, leading the new ants into a glorious future and sharing the secrets of immortality. But it ran off.

Immortal ants aside, the Mine is now up and running (around quite madly), and has:

  • About 60 freshly abducted ants
  • A pile of breadcrumbs
  • A lot less debris than in past incarnations of the Mine
  • A shitload of eggs stolen from the same source as the last batch
  • a mosquito that tried to bite me while I was catching ants

I intend to take better care of these ants, and shall not overload it with as many ants as I can catch (as I have done in the past).

Also, while I was watching the ants frantically explore their new environment (in search of egress), a jumping spider came along and began stalking ants as they ran underneath the clear plastic it sat upon. It tried to leap on a few, then sat there bemusedly, unable to grasp the concept of invisible force fields.


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